As a small business owner, your budget is typically small, and you’re constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to market your brand. You may be already utilizing pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media, or even content marketing for your promotions. But have you given influencer marketing a shot?
Influencer marketing for small business can help you achieve considerable growth quickly. This is perhaps the reason why many businesses have started using it to their advantage. In fact, influencer marketing has become more popular than print marketing, according to Google Trends.
To help you understand what the buzz is all about and how you can utilize influencer marketing, we’ve put together this guide on influencer marketing for small businesses.
Let’s first try to understand what influencer marketing is all about.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a method of promotion where you utilize the reach and influence of social media personalities. These personalities are called influencers, and they’ve established themselves as authorities in their specific niches.
They typically have huge and highly-engaged fan-followings, but many of them also have just a few thousand followers.
The influencers are thus divided into three main categories:
- Macro-influencers: They usually have over 50K followers.
- Micro-influencers: These influencers have 10K to 50K followers.
- Nano-influencers: They typically have anywhere between a few hundred and 5K followers.
Influencers are called such because they exert a significant influence on the decisions of their followers. This is because people usually trust other consumers more than they’d trust a brand.
Influencers usually post content about a specific niche that they’re passionate about and gather a loyal audience in that niche. Their followers believe their recommendations even more because influencers are also consumers and experts in the industry.
Influencer marketing can thus help establish your credibility and increase your reach, engagement, lead generation, and product sales.
However, you shouldn’t confuse influencers with celebrities. Celebrities can be influencers, but the vice-versa isn’t true.
In influencer marketing, you reach out to influencers for partnerships and ask them to write about your products, services, or business.
When they write good things about you, their audiences will start trusting your small business and products. Some of them may even end up purchasing from you. In fact, many people find and get to know about your business because of a post by an influencer they follow.
Many big brands are investing in influencer marketing, and influencer marketing for small businesses is picking up too. Let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t miss out on it.
Why Influencer Marketing?
Nearly 92% of marketers think that influencer marketing is effective. The overwhelmingly positive results of influencer marketing campaigns have led to this sentiment among marketers.
One of the most prominent examples of influencer marketing campaigns is the watch brand, Daniel Wellington.
Filip Tsyander, the founder of the business, started with only $15,000 as a seed investment in the firm and grew it to $220 million in revenue in four years. This stupendous growth was as a result of their influencer marketing campaigns.
With a very little budget in hand, Filip started sending out free watches to various influencers on Instagram. He encouraged them to post photos of themselves wearing the watch with the hashtag, #DanielWellington.
In addition, each influencer was given separate promo codes that they could share with their followers. This helped the brand increase sales and track the performance of each of their influencers too.
Within no time, Daniel Wellington’s Instagram handle had over 4 million followers. Additionally, the hashtag has over 2.2 million posts now.
Influencer marketing works because it helps brands establish trust. People usually go to and support businesses they like and trust. Now that there are loads of online businesses, it can be difficult for consumers to trust a business without any interaction.
Influencers’ recommendations help establish that trust factor, and that’s why influencer marketing is so important. The main reason being that their followers consider them to be a trusted source of information.
When a brand toots their own horn, it’s less likely to get such response and trust from their target audience. It’s even tougher for small businesses, which are yet to establish themselves, and thus, lack credibility. But leveraging influencer marketing for small businesses can help.
Now that you know why influencer marketing is important, let’s look at why influencers would want to partner with you.
Why Would Influencers Partner with Your Small Business?
Influencers have built strong reputations online and have a highly-engaged fan-followings. But why would they want to partner with your small business?
One of the biggest motivation for influencers to partner with your small business is monetary compensation.
Whenever you collaborate with an influencer, you give them some form of compensation. For many influencers, this is monetary compensation. That is how they reap the fruits of their labor of building a massive audience and promoting your small business.
Some influencers may be interested in getting a free product or service instead of or in addition to monetary compensation.
For many others, they may want to partner with your small business simply because they believe in it. Perhaps you support a cause that is close to their heart, and they may be interested in working with you to help promote that cause. That can also work as a motivator for them. They may also partner with you if their values align with yours.
Many influencers may see a collaboration with your small business as an opportunity for their own promotion. This might be the case for nano and micro-influencers,who are always on the lookout for opportunities to grow their personal brands. These influencers may agree to partner with you for a friendly shoutout on your social media account and/or website.
Many influencers are also open to affiliate partnerships like the one launched by Daniel Wellington. They earn a commission for every purchase that is made by their followers.
Now that we know the main motivators for influencers to partner with your business, let’s look at how you can leverage influencer marketing for your small business.
How to Leverage Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process to make influencer marketing work for your small business.
1. Decide on Your Goals
Before starting your influencer marketing campaign, you must decide on what you want to achieve. Without clear goals in mind, you won’t have a set direction in which you can take your campaign.
Be it short-term or long-term goals, both need to be decided at the very beginning. Along with your goals, it’s also crucial to define what sort of a partnership you want to have with the influencer. It could be a short-term partnership or a long-term brand ambassador style partnership too.
The goals that you set should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals.
Some of the SMART goals that you can set are:
- Increase your reach by X.
- Generate X more leads through influencer marketing.
- Get $X more sales.
- Increase your engagement rate by X%.
Once you know what you want to achieve, write it down and ensure that all of your team members have access to it. This will help you align all of their efforts towards your specific campaign goal.
2. Find Influencers
Now that you know your goals, your next step is to find relevant influencers for your influencer marketing campaign. You can look for people who are posting regularly in your niche. Some of them might be influencers who may want to partner with your small business.
In addition, some people may already be talking about your small business online. You need to find these people and check if they’re influencers. A great way of doing this is by monitoring your brand mentions.
You can check these brand mentions and skim through the profiles of those who’ve mentioned your small business. Some of them might be influencers.
If they’re already talking about your small business, it may be easier to partner with them. They’re more likely to be valuable partners too because they’re already passionate about your small business and products.
Yet another way of finding relevant influencers is through hashtag research using tools such as Hashtagify. This is especially helpful when it comes to platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where hashtags are very popular.
For hashtag research, you need to first come up with a list of relevant hashtags for your small business. Then, all you need to do is enter the hashtags in the tool, and it’ll show you a list of top influencers for each hashtag. You can reach out to any of these influencers.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for Instagram influencers, you can manually search for the hashtag on the platform. You’ll get an option to see the top posts using this hashtag as well. Many of the people whose posts are trending may be influencers.
However, the simplest way of finding and getting in touch with relevant influencers for your business is by using influencer marketing tools like iFluenz. Through iFluenz, you can easily create a campaign for free.
Your campaign is then made available to all of the influencers on the platform. Those who are interested in the campaign will apply to it, and you’ll be able to go through their proposals and select your influencers.
In addition, you can discover the best matching influencers through the platform and can review their content to find the right match for your small business.
You can also track the performance of your influencer marketing campaign in real-time. It’s also possible to buy influencer-created content through the platform. This way, you can easily find influencers and even manage your entire campaign with ease.
3. Reach Out to the Influencers
Once you’ve found your relevant influencers, the next step is to reach out to them for partnerships. If for some reason you prefer to contact them directly without the help of an influencer platform, you can reach out to them through various modes of communication such as:
1. Social Media
Influencers are very active on social media, and thus, it makes sense to reach out to them through social media messaging. You can introduce yourself to them and build a relationship by frequently talking with them. If they want to collaborate with you, you can move to email.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that influencers are very popular people. You may not be the only one trying to get in touch with them. It’s very likely that they receive hundreds of such messages daily. In such a case, your message may get lost in the crowd. To ensure that they see your message, you should consider messaging them every once in a while.
One great method of getting noticed is by familiarizing yourself with them and their content before messaging them. You can interact with their content by liking and commenting on it. Additionally, you could share some insights from your end as well. When they see your name come up regularly, you’ll start becoming familiar for them. This can help increase your chances of being seen.
Many influencers also have accounts on multiple social media platforms. If they don’t respond to you on one, you could try connecting with them through other social media platforms. You could also check if they have a LinkedIn profile and connect with them through it.
Emails serve as a great way to connect with influencers and are thus instrumental in influencer marketing for small businesses. You can send out cold emails to your prospective influencers and wait for their response. However, these influencers may receive hundreds of emails daily too.
Just like social media, it helps if you’re already a familiar name for them. You can do so by engaging with them on social media before sending in your pitch through email. It also helps to follow up on your emails regularly so that they don’t miss out on reading them. However, it’s important to strike the right balance as doing it too frequently may seem pushy and annoying.
Emails are usually more formal than social media, but you can keep the tone casual if you’ve already engaged with the influencers before. Try to personalize your emails as much as possible to ensure that the influencers feel connected with your small business.
3. How to Prepare the Perfect Pitch
As mentioned above, you must put effort into personalizing your pitch as much as possible. Try to speak to the influencer directly rather than addressing them with generic terms like, “Dear Influencer.”
A good way of beginning your pitch is by talking to them about some of their recent achievements. You could also talk to them about something that they’ve written which you’re passionate about. Do mention in your pitch why you’re reaching out to them but avoid going into the specifics.
Use the first email as an opportunity to introduce yourself and your campaign. Ask them for a suitable time when you can discuss the details about your influencer marketing campaign.
While this email does need to be short and to the point, you must ensure that you make them realize what the opportunity is all about. It helps if you’ve done some successful influencer marketing campaigns in the past. You can let them know what your influencers think about your brand and the campaigns. That will help establish some trust in your business.
You can also choose to add some ideas for the influencer marketing campaign into the first email. However, do your background research first before pitching these ideas. Try to find ones that the influencers have already done in the past and pitch them as that can motivate them more to work with you.
4. Launch the Campaign and Measure it
Once you’ve partnered with the influencer, you can launch your influencer marketing campaign. It’s crucial to share your brand guidelines with the influencers before they create content to ensure that they’re on the same page as you.
You must be transparent about the sponsored campaign as well with your target audience. This can be achieved by adding the “Paid Partnership” badge in the sponsored posts.
It’s critical to leave all or most of the decision-making about content creation to the influencers. This is because they know their audiences the best. You should just give them a rough outline of what you want to see in the campaign, and then leave the creative part to them.
Once the campaign is launched, you can measure the results using iFluenz, as mentioned above. Based on the analytics, you can decide what changes need to be made to the campaign to improve your campaign results.
It’s also important to thank your influencers and remain in touch with them for future campaigns. Influencers who’ve worked with your small business multiple times can be a great asset.
Although small businesses have limited budgets, they can still partner with influencers to grow their brands. Influencer marketing for small businesses is similar to the campaigns used for bigger businesses. However, it may involve partnering with nano and micro-influencers, who won’t charge you as much.
For your campaign to be successful, you must define your goals and look for relevant influencers for your small business. Analyze their profiles thoroughly and then pitch your idea of collaboration. Lastly, give them the creative freedom to create engaging content.
You should also track the results your campaign generates in terms of engagement and product sales, and optimize it to get a better ROI.
Have you used influencer marketing for your small business before? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments.